Jeffry Clemens

VU University Amsterdam

A Plea for Pluralism: Religious Conservatism in Psychedelic Therapy


There is a growing amount of evidence that classical psychedelics can produce enduring changes in personal attitudes and beliefs. These changes relate to the increase of personality traits such as openness, which is associated with a liberal frame of reference. While psychedelic therapy provides a medical benefit to those who are affected by mental illness, it may also adversely impact (religious) values and ideas that are conservative. Therefore, certain ethical questions arise regarding the treatment of psychedelics and the sociocultural position participants embrace in their communities. By anticipating the application of psychedelics in healthcare that is accessible and open to everyone with an appropriate diagnosis, this presentation converges on the discussion of religious pluralism, counseling, outlining risks, and patient’s autonomy. The goal is to present a holistic approach to psychedelic care that honors diversity and a radical honesty towards individuals and communities that are more vulnerable to the effects of the psychedelic experience.


Jeffry Clemens holds an MA in Spiritual Care from the VU University Amsterdam and is currently active as an interfaith spiritual counselor.



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